Friday, May 1, 2009

The iTunes App Store and One-hit Wonders

Thousands of sellers created the 40,000 apps that have appeared in the U.S. iTunes app store. Measured in terms of apps per seller, developer and vendor engagement has gotten stronger over time. The above average (mean) is somewhat misleading: 52% of sellers have produced just one app, and 80% have released 3 or fewer. Certain types of apps (e.g. electronic books) are easier to create, thus inflating the overall average app per seller. The disparity in complexity across categories is captured in the chart below. Aside from Books, Travel and Education apps also tend to be easy to develop and launch. The number of apps per seller also depends on whether one is interested in Paid or Free apps.

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